The New York Times
September 6, 2011

ROME — Thousands of workers took to the streets in Italy on Tuesday in a general strike to protest a package of ever-changing austerity measures required by the European Central Bank and now up for debate in the Italian Senate.

The eight-hour strike shut down transport and businesses nationwide. It was called by the C.G.I.L. union, which represents 2 million public and private sector workers, in opposition to a 45.5 billion-euro austerity package of tax hikes and spending cuts proposed by the Italian government last month to reduce Italy’s budget deficit by 2013.

The measures were required by the European Central Bank in exchange for buying Italian debt to help keep the country’s borrowing costs from rising out of control. But the measures have come under near-daily revision, as Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi struggles to satisfy objections from within his governing coalition and from the center-left opposition.

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